The pendulum conundrum

Megan Stoyles writes: Re. “Don’t write off the Napthine government just yet” (yesterday). Charles Richardson’s report on the  forthcoming Victorian state election advises us to check out the electoral pendulum, commenting that “Antony Green, of course, has the pendulum“.

Being an old fogey I immediately wondered if Malcolm Mackerras had died, as it was he who invented the concept of the electoral pendulum and fought hard against anyone presuming to duplicate it. Certainly on going to Antony Green link link, there is what , if illustrated as such, would constitute a pendulum, but it is shown clearly as two columns,  listing the  electorates  by the swings needed for a change. It is not a pendulum, despite being described as such in the  list of contents.

So does Malcolm Mackerras have a copyright on the illustration, and are the ABC and Antony Green being disengenuous  in describing two columns  as a pendulum? Please get Ms Tips on the case.

Killing East West Link

John Kotsopoulos writes: Re. “Labor could kill East West Link without paying a cent” (Monday). Listening to Denis Napthine and his dogged inquisitor Neil Mitchell on 3aw this morning it was clear that neither understood the difference between a breach of contract, which requires a positive action, and an invalid contract, which has no legal force.

Napthine kept on insisting there was no “kill clause” in the East West contract he has just signed but was alarmingly vague on whether he has agreed to massive taxpayer compensation if the project failed to proceed if the courts found the contract to be invalid.

On one reading of his comments he has deliberately and cynically put a poison pill in the contract that could oblige an incoming Labor government to proceed with the project under a new contract to avoid paying possibly hundreds of  millions in compensation.  If this is the case the new government would be fully entitled to legislate to negate the contract.

No evidence that Australia is ignoring workplace deaths

Malcolm Weatherup writes:  Re. “More Australians are dying at work while we chatter about terrorism” (Monday). C’mon, Crikey/Bernard, that’s not like you. As a former newspaper (and News Ltd at that) journo, I’m well aware of the ability to editorialise in headlines with dog-whistling words, but that usually comes — at least in Crikey‘s case — with a cogent argument expanding on any conflation. But the clear inference that we as a nation are neglecting workplace safety because of our concerns (“chatter” and the flippant inference that that carries) with terrorism is not backed up in any way in Keane’s story — if it could be backed up in any case.  I write only because this is so unusual for Crikey.

Peter Fray

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